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Knicks appear to be to have real looking possibility of landing Westchester County’s AJ Griffin in NBA draft


If he’s accessible, the hometown possibility will intrigue the Knicks on draft night.

Duke’s AJ Griffin, a merchandise of Westchester County and an Archbishop Stepinac graduate, was formerly regarded as out of Leon Rose’s assortment at No. 11. But as the draft approach hits the homestretch, it appears far more realistic, even if not probable, that Griffin will nevertheless be on the board.

For the sharpshooting 18-yr-old, the concept of becoming drafted by his household team is an enjoyable prospect, substantially like with Obi Toppin two many years in the past.

“To play for the Knicks, that would be a desire come legitimate,” Griffin claimed. “Obviously I grew up here and that would be a pleasurable time in New York. I know the plays. I know most of the gamers. It would be truly, definitely, genuinely great. I don’t know the feelings I’d be feeling about that. I just know it’d be interesting.”

The Knicks, according to various resources, have targeted Purdue guard Jaden Ivey but need to trade up for that chance. Ivey, a potential guide guard with elite athleticism, is envisioned to land fourth or fifth, and jumping there would be high priced in phrases of foreseeable future first-round picks and potential customers.

Griffin has been on their radar but could go earlier than 11th, with Portland (selecting 7th), New Orleans (8th) and San Antonio (9th) demonstrating interest.

As one of the youngest draft prospective buyers, Griffin is a gamble on likely with a sweet soar shot. Injury concerns probable hurt Griffin’s inventory, but his previous Stepinac coach, Pat Massaroni, spelled out to the Each day News why they are possibly overblown or misunderstood.

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As a junior, Griffin dislocated his knee in January but would’ve returned if the season hadn’t been shut down since of COVID-19. “Didn’t tear a detail,” Massaroni stated. Griffin then sat out his senior season, but that was only since Stepinac’s timetable was derailed by the pandemic.

“He wasn’t hurt,” Massaroni claimed. “It’s just New York experienced the strictest re-opening plan.”

Griffin alternatively relocated to Florida, where by his father was an assistant mentor on the Raptors (the franchise moved that year to Tampa), and took lessons on Zoom though preparing for Duke by instruction with the execs.

He sprained his left knee through Duke’s preseason and recovered to engage in 39 online games — 25 starts — even though averaging 10.4 factors and 3.9 rebounds. Most extraordinary, Griffin shot 45% on 3-pointers and hit 5 of his 6 attempts in the NCAA Remaining Four victory about Arkansas.

There was no hesitation to declare for the draft.

“Going to Duke, my mentality was 1-and-performed just before. We experienced that discussion right before the year begun,” Griffin explained.

Now his ties to the Knicks contain draft array, amid other items.

Griffin’s father, Adrian, spent 5 seasons as an assistant coach in Chicago beneath Tom Thibodeau, peaking with the Bulls’ run to the convention finals in 2010.

The son is also represented by CAA, the company carefully connected with the Knicks for the improved part of the last 12 several years, and specifically now with previous CAA brokers Leon Rose and William Wesley working the clearly show.

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Griffin, who grew up in Ossining, NY, played on the PSA Cardinals, the New York-centered AAU method. His significant faculty was less than 10 miles from the Knicks’ instruction facility in Tarrytown, exactly where Griffin performed his last pre-draft training in a 1-on- environment.

He envisions himself a solid healthy future a RJ Barrett, a fellow previous Blue Devil. Griffin’s arrival would produce a numbers crunch at wing, but Alec Burks, Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish are already trade candidates.

“I imagine just from watching (Barrett) engage in, I assume our video games — we would be good collectively,” Griffin said. “I know he likes to facilitate, get downhill, get location shots. I just believe we’re from Duke, we just bought that Duke relationship, I think that’d be neat to perform with him and we’d definitely complement every other’s game titles.”

Massaroni will be in Barclays Middle on draft night time, together with Stepinac players and other coaches. They’d be pleased with the hometown decide.

“That’s very surreal for him if that takes place,” Massaroni reported. “And also for us. And for me individually, being a Knicks fan growing up my whole lifetime. And a good deal of people today in this space, you had a child who played four many years at Stepinac, performed a yr at Duke, and to occur back again house, would be fairly brilliant in so quite a few means.”

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